Save The Red Lion Campaign Patrons

  • Sidbury Community Enterprises' community share offer launched to buy the Red Lion
  • Save The Red Lion Campaign Patrons - Rt Hon Hugo Swire MP & The Reverend Susie Williams
  • Campaign's company - Sidbury Community Enterprises - has made an offer to buy the Red Lion
  • East Devon District Council has listed the Red Lion pub as an Asset of Community Value - a significant Campaign milestone

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Latest Pulman's View Campaign article

This week's Pulman's View from Sidmouth newspaper has a full front page report on Save The Red Lion Camapign's request to East Devon District Council that it list the Red Lion as an "Asset of Community Value". It also carries a prominent photograph of Campaign Chair Fred Burnett delivering the letter of request to the Council's office at Knowle, Sidmouth.

Follow the link to view this article -

Thanks to Pulman's View for the ongoing coverage of the Campaign!

Sunday, 28 July 2013

More local & not so local Campaign press coverage

Save The Red Lion Campaign has received further great press coverage, which shows that the story of residents in Sidbury wanting to make sure that they can retain their local pub, has significant interest across not just the Sid Valley, but also the wider South West. This latest set of press coverage comes on the back of the Readio Devon interview that the Campaign gave on Monday ( 22 July) morning.

The latest press reporting of the Campaign comes from the Sidmouth Herald which has been supportive of the Campaign even before it was formally launched at a packed local meeting on 19 May. The latest Sidmouth Herald article, which can be found on page 15 of 26 July edition , can be read at - The article contains a nice photograph of local MP & Campaign Patron Hugo Swire, along with Red Lion Landlord Neil Anthony, Campaign Chair Fred Burnett & Campaign Secretary John Loudoun.

In addition the Western Morning News edition of 26 July also carries a story of the Campaign's determination to retain the Red Lion for the community. There is also a great photograph of Campaign Supporters outside of the pub - spot the dog! The Western Morning News coverage is pleasing because its readership is spread right across the South West & so our story will, on top of the Radion Devon interview, now start to be known in the far reaches of Devon & Cornwall.

The Western Morning News article can be found at -
The photograph in the Western Morning News was taken on 25 July when the newspaper, having given the Campaign under 24 hours notice of needing to set up the photo opportunity, sent a photographer to the village. A number of Campaign supporters quickly responded to the urgent call to pose for the photograph. Quick witted Campaign supporters also captured the moment when the photographer was photographing the supporters as the photographs below show.

Western Morning News photographer in action!

This one won't end up in the Western Morning News!

The Campaign has had another week of great publicity, with not only our story continuing to be carried in the Sidmouth Herald & Pulman's View from Sidmouth, but also now on Radio Devon & in the Western Morning News. There will be more coverage next week as well; so keep visiting this blog for information about it as it happens.

Friday, 26 July 2013

Save The Red Lion Welcomes Its Latest Campaign Patron!

Save The Red Lion Campaign, which with increasing local support is campaigning to retain the Red Lion pub in Sidbury village, east Devon, is pleased to announce that it now has another local Campaign Patron – The Reverend Susie Williams.

Susie is one of the Team Vicars within the Sid Valley Team Ministry, with special responsibility for the parishes of Woolbrook and Sidbury with Sidford. 

It is great synergy that Sidbury’s ancient Saxon village church, St Giles, from where Reverend Susie ministers to the local community, is directly opposite the Red Lion pub in the centre of the village. Here the two key focal points for residents in Sidbury nestle together at the heart of the village alongside the other key village asset Drew’s the butchers.

Save The Red Lion Campaign Chair Fred Burnett said “It is fantastic that Susie Williams, our local vicar, has agreed to become a Patron of the Campaign in its fight to retain the Red Lion pub. With Susie having agreed to become a Campaign Patron so soon after our local MP Hugo Swire did will give great heart to all involved in the Campaign. We welcome Susie on board”.

The Campaign has submitted an application to East Devon District Council seeking to have the Red Lion pub listed as an “Asset of Community Value” which would place a moratorium on the immediate sale of the pub. This will also allow the Campaign to evaluate whether it should then take the Campaign to the next step of seeking to purchase the Red Lion on behalf of the community.

In announcing that she had agreed to become a Patron of Save The Red Lion Campaign Reverend Susie Williams said “As someone who passionately believes in keeping villages alive and ensuring that there are focal points in them for all residents, such as a church, shop, school and pub, I have followed the Campaign with great interest. I hope that by becoming a Patron of the Campaign I can help to garner further support across the Sid Valley for the retention of the Red Lion as a pub for the community”.

Reverend Susie concluded by saying “I wish the Campaign all the best in its endeavours to keep Sidbury as a vibrant village, something which having a successful pub in it can help to preserve”.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

URGENT Tomorrow Volunteers Needed For Photo Call

Tomorrow (Thursday 25 July) at 3.30pm there will a photographer from one of the South West's biggest circulation newspaper's taking a photograph of Camapign supporters outside of the Red Lion.

As the photograph is to support an article being run in its Friday edition we really need to have supporters there!

Please come along if you are free! It will only take a few minutes - honestly!!


Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Pulman's View reports on Hugo Swire becoming a Campaign Patron

Today the Sidmouth edition of Pulman's View local newspaper carries the story & photograph of the Rt Hon Hugo Swire MP recently becoming a Patron of the Campaign. The story can be found on page 4 of the paper at - 
Once you have accessed this site, click on the Sidmouth edition & at the bottom of the screen page then click on "next" until you get to page 4 and our story. Enjoy!

Thanks to Pulman's View for its continued support of the Campaign.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Listen to today's Radio Devon Campaign interview

This mornings Radio Devon interview with Save The Red Lion Campaign can be listened to by clicking on this link to BBC i-player -
and the interview, which only lasts a couple of minutes, can be found 1hour & 42 minutes into the programme.


A big thanks to Radio Devon

This morning BBC Radio Devon shone the spotlight on the difficulties facing pubs. It included a range of interviews includiing Ian Packham from CAMRA, as well as a landlord in Dalton who having found businesss all too difficult & was giving up running a pub, and this was contrasted with a couple who, also in Dalton, were clear that they could make a real go of running a pub.

Save The Red Lion Campaign was interviewed live on air about why the Red Lion was up for sale & whether we thought that the local community would support it into the future. A statement from the pub's current owner Punch Taverns was read out in which it argued that the Red Lion was not viable & that was the reason why it had decided to sell the pub.

Surprisingly Punch Taverns made no mention of the fact that it was £2.4bn in debt & needed to raise some money, which must be a significant factor in their decision to sell the pub. Punch Taverns made no mention that it has no local links as it is a huge pub company which owns thousands of pubs and that it has its head office miles away from Sidbury in Burton upon Trent.

Punch Taverns made no mention of the fact that by tying the pub & its landlord to purchasing beer only from it that this made the profit margin for the landlord far less than would be available for an independent pub. Punch Taverns made no mention of the fact that it has not invested in the pub & that this has affected its performance.

Perhaps Punch Taverns should sell the Red Lion to the Campaign at a realistic price so that it can run it as aviable business for the community. Come on Punch Taverns do the right thing by the local community!

Radio Devon allowed the Campaign to explain that it has local support to retain the pub & that this can be turned into local support for the Red Lion into the future.

Many thanks to Devon Radio for the oportunity to promote the Campaign to its listeners across the county. We will come back any time you ask!

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Tune into Radio Devon tomorrow morning - early!

Save The Red Lion Campaign will be interviewed live on Radio Devon tomorrow morning - Monday  22 July - at just after 7.00am. Tune in to listen as the discussion will be about why pubs are closing.

Friday, 19 July 2013

A Community Action 1st in East Devon!

Save The Red Lion Campaign has now taken the next & crucuial step of asking East Devon District Council to list the Red Lion as an "Asset of Community Value". This means that if, as we fully expect the District Council to do, it lists the pub as an "Asset of Community Value" then the owner, Punch Taverns, cannot sell the pub at this stage.

By obtaining the listing, which we anticipate should be concluded by early/mid September, then in addition to Punch Taverns not being able to immediately sell the Red Lion, the Campaign can start to properly evaluate whether it wants to start the process of making a bid for the pub.

Campaign Chair Fred Burnett delivers the request for the District Council to list the Red Lion
This is a significant moment for the Campaign as it demonstrates that it is absolutely serious about retaining the pub for the community & that there is a clear belief amongst Campaigners that the Red Lion can be turned into a viable & successful business. This request for the Red Lion to be listed as an "Asset of Community Value" is the first to be made to East Devon District Council for a pub, & the first to be made to the District Council by a local campaign group! Across the UK there are only about 70 pubs that have been listed by Councils as an "Asset of Community Value".

A copy of the Campaign's press release that was issued today announcing this news is at
In addition to asking the District Council to list the Red Lion, the Campaign is also now in the process of applying to the Government's Department for Communities and Local Government for a significant grant to allow it to undertake "pre-feasibility" work associated with preparing to make a bid for the pub. This grant will allow the campaign to be supported by professional advisers in evaluating the likely cost of purchasing & upgarding the pub; in starting work on an outline business plan & getting the pub independently valued & possibly surveyed.

Save The Red Lion Campaign expects that by early September it should know if the pub has been listed as  an "Asset of Community Value" & whether it has been awarded the grant which will enable it to take the move to purchase the pub for the community to the next stage. So the next 6/8 weeks will be a bit nailbitting for the Campaign!

The Campaign has not forgotten that the local community will want to fully understand how the next stage will work & to have their say in what the pub should provide, beyond the traditional pub fare, as a community asset. So in early/mid September the Campaign is planning to hold a public meeting in the village to update & engage with the local community.

This is really the start of what will be an exciting, time consuming & determined period for the Campaign as it starts to turn good intentions, that were originally voiced in mid May at the original public meeting that created the Campaign, into actions.

Come with us on this journey! Please support the Campaign as it progresses.

Further Sidmouth Herald coverage of Campaign

Thanks to the Sidmouth Herald for a great article in today's edition at page 7 in which it reports Rt Hon Hugo Swire MP's decision to become Patron of Save The Red Lion Campaign & his presence in the pub last Friday evening as captured by the photograph below.

You can view the article at -

Hugo Swire toasting the Red Lion & Campaign with Campaign Chair & Secretary & landlord Neil Anthony

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Keep up to date with the Campaign!

Since we started this blog to support Save The Red Lion Campaign three months ago we have now had over 3,000 visits!

In the same time period we have now amassed 160 Twitter followers, but would obviously welcome more!

We also now have 115 Facebook friends, but we can always do with more!

Thank you for your support!

 Hugo Swire MP in the Red Lion with Campaign supporters

Publican's Morning Advertiser reports on Hugo's announcement!

The press coverage of Hugo Swire MP drinking in the Red Lion last Friday evening whilst announcing that he had agreed to be a Campaign Patron has started! A nice piece in a pub trade magazine Publican's Morning Advertiser reports -

We will keep you in touch with the press coverage as it happens. In the meantime here's another photograph from the evening -

Hugo Swire MP getting ready to pull a pint in the Red Lion watched by landlord Neil Anthony

Western Morning News gives pointers for pub success

Saturday's edition of the Western Morning News carried an article, which is the first in a series that the paper is running over forthcoming Saturday editions, about what makes a pub attractive to its local community. The articles are being written in conjunction with local Otter Brewery.

This week's article focused on the George Inn at Brompton Regis and  looked at a couple who had taken over the pub earlier this year. The clear thrust of the message being conveyed was that if you want your pub to be at the heart of the community, you need to engage with it and hear what local people are saying. The article is worth a read -

As Save The Red Lion Campaign progresses one of the things that it will have to do is listen to & speak with the local community if we want to keep the Red Lion at the heart of the village. This approach is one that the Campaign's Steering Committee has firmly in its sights!

Monday, 15 July 2013

Hugo Swire MP becomes Save The Red Lion Campaign Patron!

Hugo Swire MP toasts the Red Lion & the Campaign

Save The Red Lion Campaign is pleased to announce that our local MP Hugo Swire has agreed to become the Patron of the Campaign which is dedicated to retaining the Red Lion pub in Sidbury, east Devon.

It is equally pleasing that Hugo Swire, despite being a Minister in the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, found the time during the early evening of Friday 12 July to come along to the Red Lion to make the announcement that he had agreed to be a Patron of the Campaign.

In front of a packed crowd in the pub, Hugo Swire said that he would be very concerned for the village if the Red Lion was not to continue as a pub as he recognised that a pub should be at the heart of a thriving village like Sidbury. Hugo Swire wished the Campaign all the success in seeking to retain the Red Lion which its owners Punch Taverns placed up for sale 3 months ago.

Hugo Swire committed to fully supporting the Campaign and to working with it to maximise the support that the Department for Communities and Local Government, the government department responsible for ensuring that local community assets are retained, could make available to ensure that the Red Lion remained as a local pub.

Hugo Swire recalled his links to the Red Lion, a pub that he used to often frequent, from the time in the recent past when he lived in the village for many years. He also expressed his fondness for the Red Lion, as well as for the village of Sidbury.

Save The Red Lion Campaign Chair Fred Burnett said “It was terrific that our local MP Hugo Swire found the time to come along to the Red Lion to meet so many Campaign supporters and to show public support for the pub. We are immensely pleased that Hugo has so quickly agreed to become a Patron to the Campaign to retain the Red Lion”.

Fred Burnett went on to say “Having such a high profile and well connected MP such as Hugo Swire as a Patron of the Campaign is important as it reinforces the importance that the village attaches to retaining the Red Lion as a pub for the local community. All of us involved in the Campaign look forward to working with Hugo in our fight to retain the Red Lion”.

Save The Red Lion Campaign continues to fight to retain the Red Lion as the pub at the heart of the village and expects to be able to build upon this important step in the campaign.

Friday, 5 July 2013

Red Lion in Top 10 of Exeter Express & Echo's Pub of the Year Competition

The Red Lion pub finished within the Top 10 of the 64 that were nominated in the Eexter Express & Echo newspaper's Pub of the Year Competition! It is great to see that the Red Lion was placed 9th in the overall Competition. So congratulations go to the Red Lion for such a strong showing in the Competition, and our congratulations  must also go to the overall winnning pub the Travellers Rest in Exeter.

Even more pleasing is the fact that the Red Lion was the highest placed pub in the Competition within the Sidmouth, Sidford & Sidbury area beating off strong local competition.

With the Red Lion pub coming in the Top 10 across the whole of the wide area covered by the readership of the Express & Echo it shows that there is great support out there for the pub. It also demonstrates that there are those in the local community who value the Red Lion & who want to see it retained in the heart of the village.

Congratulations to the Red Lion & all of its supporters for the very public vote of confidence in it!

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Pubs Minister encourages campaigners to save their local pubs

Yesterday the Department for Communities & Local Government (DCLG), which amongst other things has responsibility for community pubs, held a seminar in London for community groups who are interested in trying to save their local pubs for their communities - As this issue is something that is very dear to The Pub In The Village's heart we went along to see what we could learn.

As there is quite a lot that we can report about this seminar we will post reports of it in bite size chunks over forthcoming days. We will however start by giving a flavour of  what happened yesterday below.

Don Foster MP (below), the Minister for Community Pubs, looking very dapper in his black dinner suit, welcomed us all to the seminar & he proudly pointed out that the Department was fully supportive of campaigns to save their local pubs.

Don Foster, Minister for Community Pubs
The Minister also said that the Department had enabled legislation to be passed that assisted campaigns, such as allowing pubs to be listed by local authorities as assets of community value. Additionally, Don Foster underlined the fact that the Department had made money avaialble as grants & loans for campaigns to access to support their successful purchase of their local pubs.
Tessa Blunden, from the campaign that saved The Ivy House pub in south London for its local community also spoke

Tessa Blunden, Ivy House pub, Nunhead, south London
 Tessa spoke passionately about the camapign that had been successfully run within the community in Nunhead, south London, to purchase the pub for the local community. They have done this through bidding for grants which covered the purchase price of over £800,000, as well as issuing shares to raise the additional capital investment that will now allow the pub to soon start trading.

We also heard a great success story from Lance Doughty about the Fleece Inn at Hillesey, in the Cotswolds where a community campaign led to the pub being saved for its community. Additionally, Stephen Harrod, from the Bull Inn at Great Milton in Oxford spoke about the successful campaign to save the pub for that local community.

The seminar also gave the opportunity for representatives from various organisations that work with campaigns wanting to save their pubs to speak with campaigners. These organisations included -

Campaigners discussing their local options
Further detail about the seminar will be included in later postings.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Red Lion poised for good placing in Pub of the Year Competition!

As the Exeter Express & Echo's Pub of the Year Competition was drawing to a close at the end of last week it was gratifying to see that out of the 64 pubs that had been nominated the Red Lion was placed within the Top 10!

The Red Lion pub is one of the smallest pubs in the Competition & to have made it into the Top 10 of the Competition would be a great achievement for a small village like Sidbury. It also looked at the end of last week as if the Red Lion might be the highest placed pub in the Competion in the Sidmouth, Sidford & Sidbury area!

So our fingers are crossed for the result of the Competition which is announced on Thursday.